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Hans Aberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 25 Nov 1998 13:32:56 +0100
text/plain (47 lines)
At 06:09 -0500 1998/11/25, Y&Y, Inc. wrote:
>>I do have one last (trite) remark - why are you (the publishers
>>reading this) spending so much time on arguing about typesetting and
>>publishing? Why don't you spend my money on publishing......?
>Have pity on Sebastian, please :-)  He is telling it like it is, and you are
>repeating the litany of how you think things should be.  Listen to him.
>He comes from the same religion, but has been exposed to the real
>world. It is only natural to gang up on him because he speaks against
>the one and only true faith.

I thought it was the opposite, Sebastian speaking about the faith common
among businesses, but knowing nothing about the real world that researchers
experiences: It is like teaching students at an university which thinks
that the main task at the university of their teacher is to teach students,
which it is normally not, at least at US universities. One tends ending up
with all kinds of duties one would prefer to not.

If I should translate this into business, then it is like a person thinking
that a business is only manufacturing a product and selling it, while in
reality the business is be involved in activities such as administration,
decision making, research, advertisements, donations, keeping contacts with
other businesses, consumers and society, and so on.

Returning to the original question, it is clear that mathematicians have a
lot of specialty knowledge about what their papers should containing,
including notation then, just as typesetters have special knowledge
graphical matters. The difficulty with math notation is that it is
developed in close interaction with the notions one wants to describe, and
an interaction which can often be very intuitive and subtle.

The best way out of this dilemma for publishers and typesetters is to
having as little as possible with this semantic aspect of contents that the
mathematician supplies, and only provide the things that has to do with the
general graphical look: Anything else is going to be too expensive, and the
interface between mathematician and proof-readers does not work anyhow.

In order to support this, TeX was invented, and LaTeX was invented in order
to support using TeX as an authoring tool, even though most mathematicians
did not use LaTeX at least in the beginning as somehow LaTeX was able to
forget about the styles that mathematicians use.

  Hans Aberg
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